Tiny Houses

Revolutionary home wins inaugural SMUD Tiny House Competition

Revolutionary home wins inaugu...
The Revolve House gets all its power from a roof-based solar panel array
The Revolve House gets all its power from a roof-based solar panel array
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The kitchen inside the Revolve House
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The kitchen inside the Revolve House
The Revolve House features a roof deck that seats up to six people
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The Revolve House features a roof deck that seats up to six people
The roof deck of the Revolve House is accessed by an exterior staircase
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The roof deck of the Revolve House is accessed by an exterior staircase
This step inside the Revolve House can be pulled back to reveal a storage space
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This step inside the Revolve House can be pulled back to reveal a storage space
Inside the Revolve House
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Inside the Revolve House
A skylight increases natural light inside the Revolve House 
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A skylight increases natural light inside the Revolve House 
The kitchen and dining area in the Revolve House 
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The kitchen and dining area in the Revolve House 
The Revolve House has a lounge area with a murphy-style pull-down bed
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The Revolve House has a lounge area with a murphy-style pull-down bed
The Revolve House is constructed from SIPs and features a "green wall" made up of small planters
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The Revolve House is constructed from SIPs and features a "green wall" made up of small planters
The Revolve House is going to be donated to Operation Freedom Paws, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching veterans and others with disabilities to train their own service dogs
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The Revolve House is going to be donated to Operation Freedom Paws, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching veterans and others with disabilities to train their own service dogs
The Revolve House features a total floorspace of  238 sq ft (22 sq m)
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The Revolve House features a total floorspace of  238 sq ft (22 sq m)
The bathroom in the Revolve House
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The bathroom in the Revolve House
The toilet in the Revolve House
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The toilet in the Revolve House
The Revolve House was designed and constructed over two years
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The Revolve House was designed and constructed over two years
The Revolve House gets all its power from a roof-based solar panel array
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The Revolve House gets all its power from a roof-based solar panel array

The brand new SMUD Tiny House Competition recently took place in Sacramento, California. Inspired by the Solar Decathlon, it aims to promote green construction and sustainable living, writ small. Santa Clara University won out of a total of 10 competing California-based college teams with its novel solar-powered home that automatically rotates to follow the sun.

The Revolve House was constructed using SIPs (structural insulated panels) and comprises a total floorspace of 238 sq ft (22 sq m). This is split between a kitchen and dining area with pull-down table, a wet-room style bathroom, and a lounge/bedroom with murphy-style bed. In addition, a roof deck seats six and is accessed by an exterior staircase.

It gets its power from a roof-based solar array made up of eight 330 W panels. This is hooked-up to environmentally-friendly saltwater batteries and provides all necessary electricity for running the home.

In order to boost the solar array's efficiency, the Revolve House is based on a trailer, which in turn sits atop a Colossun sun tracking ring that rotates the home to ensure the solar panels receive the most rays possible. We wondered if the power required by the electric motor that moves the home might negate any juice gained, but the Revolve House team says that the system improves the home's solar efficiency by an impressive 30 percent.

Inside the Revolve House
Inside the Revolve House

Heating is provided by an efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) unit. This, in addition to a skylight, and the lighting, are all controlled by a touchscreen system. A filter recycles greywater for later re-use.

The house is designed to be used by disabled veterans and its doorways, showers and appliances are described as wheelchair-accessible. However, besides lack of disabled access to the deck, there's a significant step up to the lounge area too – perhaps a ramp is going to be inserted here later. The step in question can also be pulled back to reveal storage space.

No doubt such concerns will be sorted out, as Revolve House will soon be donated to Operation Freedom Paws, an organization dedicated to teaching veterans and others with disabilities to train their own service dogs.

Sources: Revolve House, SMUD

5 comments
Bob
Better, with a few good ideas, but still too much wasted space. Look at the floor plans of any number of similar sized travel trailers or motor homes for much more efficient and comfortable living spaces.
Buellrider
Very nicely done. One thing though, this tiny house is stuck to wherever that ring is attach. Most of these tiny houses are on a trailer and can be moved. Since this one cannot be easily moved then it should have been given a second story for more space. I understand the concept of "Tiny" but the footprint would not be any bigger with a second floor.
DaleBarclay
The ring should be attached to the underside of the base with some kind of system to raise and lower the whole tiny house assembly. Then it could be moved with out many problems. Some small hydraulic jacks should do the trick nicely. They would probably need a base plate for soft or wet ground. Sales will be a better determination of the floor layout than trying to reduce wasted space.
ljaques
Absolutely outstanding! This is, by far, the most completely thought-out and best implemented tiny home I've ever seen. I liked the Shade House in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, but this takes it to the Nth step better in half the size. Nice. Now to get a decent price on the whole shebang... I'm not much on the saltbox look in a house, so I'd diminish it by adding thin cabinets on the north roof, one on either side of the vent window. And flooring on the ceiling? Hah! Still, it's a rock solid concept for a home a couple could happily live in. (Says the hermit in the 3BR home who still needs more room for his projects.)
Nik
Question; how often do people expect these tiny house to be moved? They are not intended to replace motor/trailer homes, so why build them like a corridor? Corridors are wasted space, and require excessive movement to reach the various parts. So by dividing the construction into two parts and placing them side by side, a much more convenient layout could be achieved, with larger usable spaces.